Active Living, Balance, Down time, General, Places, Student Life

First Years – Unplugging on Campus

The start of the ’gap’ between midterms and finals is definitely a good time to find more opportunities to de-stress where possible. As I’ve been emphasizing the importance I’ve placed on striking a balance between work and play, I’ve decided to find out where my fellow first-years have been going to relax on campus. Specifically, I’ve been looking for places to ‘unplug’ and unwind without keeping a constant eye on my phone.

Being freshmen, we probably haven’t discovered the less well-know spots yet, which is likely the reason why an overwhelming majority of people’s responses were one of the various libraries on the St. George campus. Robarts was a popular favourite, with a few first-years also voicing support for Gerstein and E.J Pratt. I suppose the rationale is that study spaces are nice and quiet already, so by simply leaving your phone alone while you’re there and maybe bringing a book along, you’ll be in a great environment for being immersed in the reading material. If I ever find the time, I’ll definitely be bringing my paperbacks and hardcovers to some of these spots to try them for myself!

Put the phone and cables aside for a bit, and catch up on some reading!

Put the phone and cables aside for a bit, and catch up on some reading!

Physical activity is another way of breaking your addiction to your screens; accordingly, athletics was also brought up in a couple of answers.

“Other than Robarts? Well…I find that a great way to unwind is to drop by the athletics centre. Getting into any kind of physical activity is a good deterrent for checking notifications every minute, whether it’s getting a workout in, or shooting some hoops. Also, the athletics centre is just across the street from Robarts! …But I digress.” – Ryan

 

“Go for a run! We’ve got a great campus, and running seems like an ideal way to get to know it. I’ve gone for runs around Queens Park all the time.” – Philip

These are pretty solid recommendations. The Athletic Centre is a good idea but if that’s not a convenient spot, I believe there are other places to play some sports or take a run around campus, including Hart House and Varsity Centre.

Take in some sports and work up a sweat! Visit the Varsity Centre, it's got some awesome facilities. [Photo courtesy of Randy McDonald, used under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license. Original available at: https://flic.kr/p/6tzwGj ]

Take in some sports and work up a sweat! Visit the Varsity Centre, it’s got some awesome facilities. [Photo courtesy of Randy McDonald, used under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license. Original available at: https://flic.kr/p/6tzwGj ]

When it comes to unplugging, it’s understandable that it would be difficult to do. It really comes down to making a personal commitment to step away from the screen and from your apps/social media accounts. While de-activating a Facebook account (or even deleting the app) may be a bit too much to ask for some, even muting notifications can be a great way to start. It’s encouraging to see so many of us first-years already finding ways to relax without the use of smartphones and computers, and I’m hoping to follow in their footsteps and actively participate in #UnplugUofT !